A South Korean official checks the status of the diplomatic phone line used to speak with North Korea. Photo: South Korean Unification Ministry via Getty Images

North Korea and South Korea spoke directly today on a phone line that hadn't been used since 2016, per CNN. The rare diplomatic contact — initiated by the North — comes after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expressed a desire for his country's athletes to take part in next month's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Why it matters: Any contact between the two nations is a positive sign, especially after a war of words on Twitter that featured President Trump threatening a nuclear exchange against the North. This development plays into South Korean President Moon Jae-in's hope that the Pyeongchang Games could bring about positive movements toward peace between the two Koreas.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Macron visits Beirut promising a "new political pact" for Lebanon

Macron visits the hard-hit Gemmayzeh neighborhood. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron walked through the blast-damaged streets of Beirut on Thursday, swarmed by people chanting for the fall of Lebanon's government and pleading for international aid.

Why it matters: Lebanon is at a breaking point. Its economy was collapsing and its government hardly functioning — all before a massive explosion destroyed swathes of the capital city, including its vital port.

2 hours ago - Sports

The PGA Championship is golf's first major in over a year

Photo: Gary Kellner/PGA of America via Getty Images

The 2020 PGA Championship tees off Thursday at San Francisco's TPC Harding Park, which is hosting its first-ever major.

Why it matters: It's the first major in more than a year — and the first of seven majors in the next 12 months. Though there won't be any fans in attendance, the excitement is palpable.

July's jobs report could be an inflection point for the coronavirus recovery

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Even if Friday's jobs report shows a big number, it is becoming clear hiring slowed and likely even reversed course in July and real-time indicators suggest the employment situation worsened into August.

Driving the news: Payroll processor ADP's monthly jobs report showed private companies added 167,000 jobs last month, well below the 1.2 million expected by economists and far below June's 4.8 million jobs added.